Womans Journey: Colonoscopy , a ' technical mind ' that can save lives

Friday, December 13, 2013

Colonoscopy , a ' technical mind ' that can save lives

Colon cancer is the most common tumor in Spain . Is it possible to prevent it? Maite Herraiz , digestive physician Prevention Unit Digestive Tumors of the University of Navarra explains why Efe explore the advantages of the large intestine outweigh the drawbacks.

 Herraiz part in the 35th National Day of the Spanish Society of Digestive Endoscopy , which highlights the importance of prevention of colon cancer and closes today in Madrid.

- What is colonoscopy and what is it ?
It is a noninvasive imaging test in which a tube is inserted - the endoscope - through the anus to explore the large intestine. Requires prior bowel cleansing . It is a diagnostic and therapeutic tool that allows us to both determine what is in the colon diseases like trying some of them. It usually lasts about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Is there any risk to the patient undergoing this procedure ?
It may be a self-limiting bleeding without clinical significance or piercing the gut - break - although this only occurs in one of every thousand colonoscopies. The main drawback is that art is an annoying , because the colon is a folded cavity usually have to defuse blowing air to help see inside the walls . Therefore it is recommended to have this test under sedation : if the patient is more comfortable , the doctor may do a better job .
- This technique can prevent colon cancer ?
Yes We know that this type of cancer arises from a polyp , understood as a benign lesion of the colon called " premalignant " because it can become a tumor in 5% of cases. However, until this happens spend about ten years. Colonoscopy allows us to remove polyps to prevent this injury in some cases was already starting to become malignant , that is, to prevent cancer .
- How does a person know if you have polyps ?
Through testing as screening test for occult blood in stool , used to check for microscopic amounts of blood from polyps that are within the intestine. An estimated 25 % of men and between 15% and 20 % of women have polyps .
- What are the factors that increase the likelihood of developing colon cancer?
Age . From the age of 50 increases the risk of polyps appear . Also influence some health problems such as Crohn 's disease or ulcerative colitis, which causes chronic inflammation of the colon. Family history is another risk factor .
- How colon cancer is detected?
Advanced tumors are diagnosed by symptoms such as changes in bowel habits or blood in the stool. There are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, in which there are more chances that the patient can be cured with surgery alone without chemotherapy.
- What is the prevalence of colon cancer?
It is the most common tumor diagnosed in Spain in adult women and men . In 2012 it was estimated that 33,000 people would be diagnosed this year in Spain and 400,000 in Europe. In Western countries there is an increasing trend of colon cancer, but in countries that have implemented prevention campaigns has shown that it has lowered the incidence of this disease , as is the case of the United States.
- And the survival rate ?
If the tumor is detected at an early stage , the percentage is over 90 %. When diagnosed through the patient's symptoms - in an advanced stage - , survival is under 50 % .

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